3D Printing has made a difference in many sectors and it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that now it is also making lives easier for those who with mobility issues. Many innovating individuals have used the mode of 3D printing to develop new products that can help people of all ages. And now a team of French occupational therapist brings in a way to replace the joystick on a wheelchair with a 3D printed Ninja Flex joystick.
3D Printing is being used in every sector and industry. Various products are being designed and invented using the emerging technology. Due to this, two occupational therapists from France – Guy Ehretsmann and Jean Francois Bodin came up with the idea of developing a 3D based joystick that can make mobility easier for paraplegic patients.
Initially, they had planned to come up with a chin-driven gear but after thorough research they found it to be unsuitable. Since patients who are paraplegic are able to use their hands and arms, the company has decided to create a hand-maneuvered system.
The hand-maneuvered joystick is created using a special thermo-plastic molding and designed using the free 3D design tool – Meshmixer. The duo believes that technology brings in more advantages than disadvantages if implied in the correct way. Uniquely designed with Ninja Flex filament, the joystick can be attached to any electric wheelchair providing a better independency to those who have limited mobility options.
Although the project is yet to be finalized – the makers are keen about it and have already created a functional joystick apparatus. The user can easily fit his or her hand inside the 3D printed material and move it as per his mobility requirement. The comfortable material that is used in the making of the product provides the electrical wheelchair user with great comfort and ease-of-use. Ehretsmann has also stated that he is teaching the techniques of using the joystick to his students at the University of France.
The testing phase for the joystick is under process and so far, the results have not only been in the favor of the inventors but also anticipated by those who rely on wheelchairs for their accessibility. It has the potential to be a part of the toolbox that is owned by every occupational therapist and of course, a ray of hope for those that are confined to wheelchairs.
3D printing is not only changing how we live but it is also making the world a better place for those who are near and dear to us. The goal of Guy Ehretsmann and Jean Francois Bodin is also the same – to make the world easy to access for those who are using electrical wheelchairs. Let’s wait and see what the results for the Ninja Flex joystick brings in. meanwhile, check out the video by clicking here.